Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Tail of Teeth

The ratio of teeth to tail in a field force from Theater down is about ten to one in accordance with the historical experience of the entire Twentieth Century. Since teeth are more sexy than tail to those with little heads, a cerebral colonic inversion occurred in the Pentagon on the realization that the expertise in Corps, Field Army and Theatre Army operations lay in the Reserve Components, most predominately in the Army Reserve.

This corollary to this is the plain fact that the ability to conduct operations at levels above division had be lost to those in the Pentagon giving rise to colonic confusion that teeth don’t need tails, at least those from the detested weekend warriors. Accordingly, the decision to eliminate the tail from the teeth by creating a force that didn’t need one, called reducing the “footprint” of tactical forces. An privatizing the tail makes it weigh less. Way less.

A new battle doctrine likewise had to be invented that didn’t require ammunition re-supply, casualty replacement, or equipment maintenance, hence the Rumsfeldian “Whack-a-Mole” Rotational Modular Stabilized Expeditionary Transformational mini-brigade force. All wars and military emergencies could, under this approach, be won in a “10-30-30” cycle: Go in Ten, Win in Thirty, and Recover in Thirty Days.

Fortunately for the US, GWOT is not a near peer war like WW1 or 2. In WW1, General Sir Douglas Haig fed the finest infantry in the world into the shell holes of Hell in Flanders followed by the cream of Britain’s youth with a determined Pig Headedness that seems to have been replicated in the Pentagon. After six years of a failed rotational, transformational, expeditionary, modular war, and in spite of the burgeoning success of the new Counter Insurgency doctrine, the Pentagon prefers to cut and run than adapt to the eclectic and effective.

Lest this be seen as another of my pipe dreams, remember when there was a thing called “combat readiness”? How the Pentagon attempted to denigrate and marginalize the Reserve Components with phony readiness standards like MOS training, equipment readiness, et al? And remember what happened before 9-11?

Desert Storm did it. The Pentagon realized that the Reserve Components could rock and roll with the best of them. This had to go. No more “major” command post exercises to be done to continue to exercise Corps and above under combat conditions was a lead indicator.

And what happened when the balloon did go up? Converting artillery and tanks units to a new breed of motorized infantry in short order gave the lie to the relation of MOS to combat readiness. All that matters, now as in all wars before, is that a soldier needs only not to be gay, and that the government owns a piece of his/her ass. And the rest of the body doesn’t have to have all the parts issued originally.

One thing the last QDR did accomplish is that the Army has been transformed from a combat ready force to a combat experienced force. It is time to bring sanity to the next QDR but note that the Pentagon is trying to eliminate the Reserve Representation on the staff that prepares the QDR. BOHICA 08?

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